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Monday, August 21st, 2006

Brevity in Wikipedia

Since I’m a big user of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and also a fan of by brother’s comic strip Brevity, I decided to check to see whether there was a Brevity entry. There wasn’t – the page where it should have been was a redirect to a World War II operation – so I created it. This entailed a little read up on the Wikipedia help pages, some cribbing from the styles of other comic strip entries, and research into the fair use of copyrighted images. The page now is very brief (the irony!), but at least it has been started, and I expect that other fans and myself will have it fully expanded in short order. I also need to download, fill out, and send to Guy & Rodd a request for permission to use the image that I uploaded.

The act of listing the authors pretty much automatically generated a request to create entries for Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry, so we might shortly see Wikipedia entries for them. It feels sort of funny instigating an entry for my brother, and I think it would be inappropriate for me to write a biographical sketch of him for public consumption, but I guess I’m available for interviews from other people who want to do it. Looking on the Comics Portal at all the other listings, Rodd, as a published artist, clearly deserves an entry.

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, People at 05:57 PST

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Friday, August 18th, 2006

Stylish

Oh man, I wish I had have known about this in time to prepare, but Happy Kilt Day.

Damn, if The ScreenSavers was still around, Patrick Norton would have let us know.

Posted by Greg as Current Events at 14:44 PST

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Friday, August 11th, 2006

2006 Chargers Playoffs Hopes – Preseason

Yep – it’s coming up on that time of year again. I’ve been jonesing for months, but now we’re just a day away from the preseason opener at home against Green Bay. I’ve been following the reports from training camp, and I’m ready to make my preseason predictions.

The 2006-2007 schedule has been out for a while, and it is way easier that the toughest-in-the-league 2005 one. Last year we had a strength of schedule of 0.559 – this year, we’re in the bottom half, with 0.488.

By averaging the the odds offered at seventeen locations (Oddschecker.com), I see we’re listed at 23.24-1 for winning the Super Bowl, at thirteenth place. Ahead of us are Indianapolis (the favorite at 6.03-1), New England, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Denver, Dallas, Miami, Washington, Kansas City, Chicago, and Cincinnati. I think there is some heavy skepticism implicit in these odds, because no one knows how good our new quarterback is going to turn out to be.

Going through the schedule, I see just three iffy non-divisional games: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Seattle, and four divisional games against the tough Denver and Kansas City teams. I’m going to claim our divisional home games and just throw the two away ones into the ring. That makes five contentious games.

I think we can win half of those, and to round things out, I’ll throw in a 50% chance of losing another game against a weaker opponent (say, like Miami last year) or from playing at home in the rain (San Diegans just don’t deal well with rain), and just one game from qb inexperience. So I’m calling a 12-4 season (although I’m itching to call 13-3.)

Yep, that’s the same as our surprise-the-experts 2004 season, and I’m calling it with Philip Rivers at the helm instead of Drew Brees. And I think we can go all the way.

Posted by Greg as Football at 11:31 PST

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Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Corrosion in the News

It’s hard not to make comment when you’re a blogger and a corrosion engineer, and corrosion actually makes it into the news. So why try to resist?

I have been a little surprised at how big a splash the news that BP is shutting down the Prudhoe Bay oil field has made. I didn’t notice anything when corrosion problems apparently caused a 4,800 barrel spill in March. But apparently, the media considers this a big deal because the shutdown will have an impact on the price American consumers will pay for gasoline, which has become a sensitive topic. Thus, the story is more about economics than engineering.

If you’re looking for me to have some special insight on the story, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. From my review of the coverage, it appears that the problems in these pipelines were caused by internal corrosion – where the corrosion originates from the inside of the pipe, working out – whereas my specialty is in cathodic protection, a technique that is mainly effective against external corrosion. Moreover, from the few pictures I’ve seen, the pipelines in question are aboveground, mounted on pedestals to cross the tundra, and cathodic protection is only effective on structures that are buried or immersed.

When I have to go through the news articles carefully just to find out whether the issue is internal or external corrosion, it’s clear that there just isn’t enough information available for me to comment on any technical issues. And it would be pretty boneheaded of me to make any sort of public statement that could be interpreted as a professional assessment of this or any other particular incident. I’d like to write more about what I do, but it’s pretty hard to explain without going pretty heavily into corrosion theory, which is extremely complex. In my sixteen plus years in the industry, I’ve seen exceptions to just about every generalization you could make about corrosion control.

Posted by Greg as Corrosion Control, Current Events at 00:35 PST

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Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

Email to the President

Well, I took the bull by the horns and did it – I sent the following email to the new CEO of Corrpro Companies, Inc.:

Dear Mr. Larkin,

As a seven-year employee of Corrpro and a stockholder, I was very pleased to see yesterday’s announcement of your appointment of President and CEO.

I know you must be a very busy man, and normally I would not be trying to send an email to someone in your position, but I have a small suggestion for you that might help you in your new leadership role, and benefit both employees and stockholders.

In many leading companies today, the President maintains a public blog that serves as a forum to outline his or her business philosophies, strategies, goals, and progress towards them. With the inclusion of comments, it can also serve as a dialogue between the President and the interested public. It is, of course, a double-edged sword. Although you would have the opportunity to quickly disseminate your ideas, you would also be exposed to criticism and to the risk of inadvertently exposing information valuable to competitors. It is, in essence, a PR strategy. A quick Google search would reveal many of the pros and cons of the CEO blog. One I thought was astute mentioned five critical elements of a successful blog: candor, urgency, timeliness, pithiness and controversy.

A blog may or may not serve your purposes. I know it would help me, because I rarely, if ever, get to hear the opinions of the top leadership of my employer without it being filtered through multiple layers of middle management. Writing on a regular basis is a skill that not many people have, although it can be developed. However, it is a tool that you might find valuable. I myself have maintained a blog for over a year now, and although it can be a struggle to post just twice a week, I have found the experience to be clarifying and even cathartic.

Highest Regards,

Greg R. Perry
San Diego

I’ve never done anything like this before. I suppose it’s risky, maybe even more risky to publish the email, but I don’t feel bad about it. I really would love to read a blog by our new president and CEO.

UPDATE: I got a response in just under an hour. I won’t publish it without permission, but it was interested and positive. I’m impressed.

Posted by Greg as My Website, Posts About Me at 09:19 PST

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Corrpro New CEO

I don’t discuss information from internal company announcements, but this naturally made the PRNewswire (hmmm – can’t find it anymore?! – oh well, here’s the link to Yahoo News):

MEDINA, Ohio, July 31. Corrpro Companies, Inc. announced today that its Board of Directors has named William V. Larkin, Jr. President and Chief Executive Officer of Corrpro effective as of August 1, 2006. Mr. Larkin has also been appointed to serve on Corrpro’s Board of Directors effective as of the same date.

Mr. Larkin was previously President and CEO of Tuboscope Vetco International, a worldwide publicly traded oilfield service company. Tuboscope’s product lines included corrosion detection and corrosion prevention services for the oilfield, pipeline and above ground storage tank markets.

The old CEO left in what, October last year, so it’s good to see a new president named. I think it’s especially good to see someone who is familiar with the industry.

You know what? I think I’m going to send him an email suggesting that he starts a blog. Wouldn’t it be great to get news from the top on a regular basis?

On an interesting side note, while researching this story, I stumbled across a legal commentary blog covering some of the legal issues surrounding the acrimonious departure of the Meiers from Corrpro.

Posted by Greg as Corrosion Control at 05:47 PST

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